Returning to school after the Coronavirus Lockdown – Tips for school leaders

Across our global group of schools, many students and staff have returned to classroom learning, whilst others have continued with distance learning or have begun to implement a more blended approach to learning. As we emerge from lockdown, it is inevitable that there are many changes required in the way schools manage their daily routine, students adapt to learning and parents navigate the implications of lockdown on their child’s learning.

Students and teachers around the world have continued to adapt and move between face to face learning and distance learning and at the International Schools Partnership (ISP) we are committed to providing our students with the best opportunities to learn in the most effective ways possible. The ISP Learning & Innovation team have been collaborating closely with teachers and school leaders in and around our group, to support them as they plan and prepare for the coming months ahead. For some, this has involved a gradual return to school, and for others this has meant an ongoing journey of getting better in models where students continue to learn from home.

Having learned from our distance learning approach and by drawing on valuable feedback and data from students, parents and staff from our schools, we have been able to implement a blended approach to learning and teaching. In doing so, we are able to further personalise our educational offerings to meet the specific needs and interests of our students and their families.

We recognise the huge amount of work and dedication that our global community has shown to ensure our students and families have access to the best learning approaches possible.

TO HELP MAKE THE EXPERIENCE OF RETURNING TO LEARNING A POSITIVE ONE FOR STUDENTS, STAFF AND FAMILIES READ OUR GUIDANCE TIPS FOR SCHOOL LEADERS BELOW:

1. Be bold​

Think about the positive aspects of the lockdown situation that you’d like to retain. Take this chance to embed different ways of working in your school environment. Think about how you could put kindness, dignity and wellbeing at the heart of your institution. What would this look like in your school?

2. Pastoral care ​

Make time over several weeks for students to connect with adults and ensure staff are effectively supported with clear processes in place for reporting safeguarding and pastoral issues, or for signposting to other external sources of support

3. Engage parents​

Parents will also likely be feeling a range of emotions about sending children back to school. If you can, offer opportunities for parents to engage with you directly, to share their feelings and worries and let them know about the support you have in place for students. It might also be helpful to share resources they can use to support their children.

4. Training

Take stock of where there might be gaps in knowledge and confidence around child and adolescent mental health amongst staff. You could provide learning resources and time for staff to complete them, until formal training can be implemented.

5. Highlight available support​

From both within school and in your local community and share this as widely as possible with students and staff. Identify organisations that might provide counselling or advice for frontline workers, as well as mental health and wellbeing support for students.

6. Work together​

There may be support available from statutory agencies or third-party sector and community organisations that you can draw on to implement some of these suggestions. You might even find that parents in your community have their own training or resources that they are happy to share with the school. Spending time mapping the support available and building relationships with these groups may be a good starting point.

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